Ending racism in the Deaf community is a goal many people share. We at ASC would like to take a moment to respond to Aidan Mack’s vlog, “Calling on Deaf People of Color”, by addressing the topic of how white people can most effectively work to understand and end racism.
Deaf People Telling Stories: As psychotherapists who listen to people’s stories every day, our radar is especially attuned to the subtle conditions that must be in place before many people will venture to share their deepest thoughts and feelings. As white people, we wonder how Deaf people of color feel about being asked by white Deaf people to tell their stories of racism.
How many Deaf people of color trust their stories and feelings to white Deaf people? Do Deaf people of color appreciate being told that white Deaf people want to empower and help them?
Perhaps some Deaf people of color do want an invitation to come forward and share their stories with white Deaf people. Some, however, may not.
Looking Inside Ourselves — Our White Privilege: It’s quite possible that some Deaf people of color are tired of pointing out racism to white Deaf people, just like some Deaf people are tired of pointing out audism to hearing people. In the same way that Deaf people often wish hearing people would examine their own audist beliefs and attitudes, so might some Deaf people of color wish that white Deaf people would take a closer look at their white privilege and racist beliefs and attitudes.
Instead of expecting Deaf people of color to jump up and share their stories with us, and going, “oh well, we tried”, if they choose not to, perhaps white Deaf people may do better to make a conscious effort to become more aware of our own racism and the subtle, and not-so-subtle, ways we reveal it everyday.
What do we understand about white privilege? How often do we think about the advantages we have because of our skin color? How many of us think “reverse racism” if we lose out on a job to a Deaf person of color or question a Deaf person of color’s qualifications for a job?
These are all questions we would do well to spend time considering. Not until we truly recognize how white privilege benefits us, will we ever begin to “get” what racism is all about.
Baer, A. (2007, October 15). The stark difference between being self empowered and being empowered. Anne Marie’s metaASL. Retrieved October 15, 2007, from http://annemarieasl.tumblr.com/post/15740078
Duchesneau, S. M. & McCullough, C. A. (2006, June 19). Majority privileges. ASC on the Couch. Retrieved October 16, 2007), from http://www.ascdeaf.com/blog/?p=53
Mack, A. (2007, October 11). Calling on Deaf people of color. Deaf Cinematic Flimblog. Retrieved October 11, 2007
Mutti, S. F. (2007, October 15). Deaf leaders adopt zero tolerance for racism. DeafDC.com Blog. Retrieved October 15, 2007, from http://www.deafdc.com/blog/?p=1089